Removing the Barriers to Company Innovation Through Social

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Transformative leaders are obsessed with innovation, employee culture, and customer-centric strategies--someone who puts the company culture and customers before anything else. True innovation not only requires having a vision for change, but also the tools to enable it.

Transformative leaders are obsessed with innovation, employee culture, and customer-centric strategies--they put the company culture and customers before anything else. True innovation, however, not only requires having a vision for change, but also the tools and solutions integration to enable it.

An Oracle-sponsored study, "Cultivating Business-Led Innovation," by the Economist Intelligence Unit and released last week, takes a look at how innovation really happens in organizations.

The study includes results from a survey of 226 global respondents. Some of the key research findings include:

- Companies furthest along the innovation path are utilizing customer data and customer participation in their product and service improvements. Fifty-four percent of companies interviewed indicate that they innovate more effectively using customer input;

- Social media/big data were identified as key to new innovation, but many companies lack the knowledge to best leverage the technologies;

- Companies furthest along the innovation path openly embrace customer feedback, including that gathered from social channels;

- Social media was noted as one of the strongest opportunities to improve the customer experience and develop new ways of selling;

- IT is often viewed an implementer of innovation (41 percent), rather than a key driver in the process, despite their ability to foster necessary education for staff.

According to Reggie Bradford, senior vice president of business development at Oracle, companies that push innovation and embrace failure are the ones that thrive in the marketplace. A major opportunity for organizations to innovate is in fostering collaboration between departments, Bradford said, and by bringing the CMOs into IT projects earlier with the CIOs. Companies doing that are being viewed at visionaries. "We see that not only as a challenge but also a bright opportunity and future to work with companies and unlock that opportunity," he added.

But barriers stand in the way of such progress. Bradford outlined a need to scale social and integrate that with the enterprise. Fundamentally social started with marketers, he explained, but social is now upending other parts of the organization from sales prospecting to human resources and capital to customer service. "We believe what needs to take place is a consolidated, integrated approach to social across the enterprise," he said.

Aside from integration, another challenge revealed in the report is the need to understand the ROI behind social. Bradford explained that such a scenario could involve having the ability to corrleate the use of social media service channels to call volume reductions, or integrating social into marketing automation so that marketers can understand their cost per lead.

Such innovative scenarios will increasingly become the norm next year, according to Bradford, as the continued integration of data will lead to social providing a better understanding of an organization's ROI from a standpoint of marketing, sales, lead generation, customer care, and customer experience.

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